The Game Engine

"Any time Detroit scores more than a hundred points and holds the other team below a hundred points, they almost always win."

In order to better help you structure your team, we thought it would be a good idea to tell you the general framework under which the game engine works.

The truth is that what you see in the box score, or the match report, is only a fraction of what is going on inside the game engine. This is true in the same way that listening to a play by play of a basketball game isn’t going to show you some of the dynamics of the game you would see if you were there in person.

The central part of the game engine is how the half court offense/defense works. The general idea is that a team gets a series of opportunities to score. What kind, and what the quality of those opportunities are is a function of the offense they are running, the matchups between the offensive players and their defenders. A player must decide whether the opportunity presented is good enough to take a shot… this of course changes as a function of amongst other things… the shot clock, the players experience, the score of the game, the history of the quality of shots the team has seen recently, the offense the team is running, and whether that rookie shooting guard of yours thinks he knows better than the coach does how good he is at making jump shots.

The offensive schemes that we give you can be broken down into combinations of two aspects, pace and focus. Pace is either faster, slower or normal, and focus is either inside, outside or normal. A faster pace means that the team will lower its standards for which shot to take and take less time to get it up the court…resulting in more possessions in the game. Slower pace means just the opposite. Having an inside focus both increases the overall quality of the looks you get near the basket and decreases the quality of looks you get away from the hoop. It also skews the distribution of looks that you get towards inside looks. Outside focus does exactly the same, but for longer range shots. In general the marginal gain you get is outweighed by the loss, so it only makes sense to focus one way or the other if you really feel you have an advantage in that area.

Obviously the success of your team depends on other aspects of the game as well, such as the ability of your players to create opportunities for each other. The better offensive flow you have, the more high quality assisted shots you will get. Also, being able to rebound effectively will limit your opponents opportunities to score, and increase yours. Reducing turnovers and forcing turnovers is also important. The better handling you have, the better outside defense, and the more efficient you are at scoring (because the longer you take to score the more opportunities there are to turn it over) the better you will do in this department. Putting on a full court press will increase the number of turnovers you force, but will also give opponents with good ball handling skills easy looks at the hoop.

During the course of the game, your coach will make adjustments as a result of how the game is going. If you are making a lot of inside shots, he will tell you to take more inside shots. If the opponent is making a lot of inside shots, he will tell your defenders to double-team in the post more often. However, any time that the coach makes a change away from the tactics you started out with, it will be a less effective than if you had simply chosen to double-team the post all along (i.e., you will find that it is easier for your coach to tell the defenders to focus even harder than they already are on inside defense if you are already playing a 2-3 zone). The closer your submitted tactics are to the optimal choice, the better, especially because the coach is only able to make limited adjustments once the game has started.

While the adjustments and counter-adjustments are very complex, and the details alone take up over 10,000 lines of code (really!), we have tried to give you a little bit of a taste of this via the Matchup rating for each team (for games older than season 3, the coaching rating).

For games older than season 3, the coaching rating is an indicator of the quality of your shot attempts compared to the average quality of the shot attempts you should be able to get with the talent you have on the floor. A good offensive gameplan will give you a high Coaching rating, and a good defensive gameplan will make your opponent's Coaching rating lower. The All-Star Game will continue to list Coaching rating as well.

For games played during season 3 and later, we have replaced this with the more comprehensive matchup ratings. The matchup rating represents the number of points that players at a given position would have scored, on average, if they were to take 100 shots. A higher number is indicative of better scoring opportunities at that position over the course of the game, and of course you should try to take full advantage of your strength when selecting your tactics. Since tactics can be very complicated, you should ask your fellow players in the Forums what they have learned, because they can tell you a lot more from their own experience than we can in a brief description of the engine. Good luck!

While the rules have been translated by our wonderful language administrators, the only official versions of the BuzzerBeater Rules or Terms of Service are those written in American English.